Happy Monday! If you follow me on Instagram (@lesliestreff. Come say hi!), you already know that last weekend I did one of the most quintessential fall activities: apple picking. It was a gorgeous Sunday morning, and my friend and I traipsed out to The Apple Farm just outside of the city. Mid-morning on a sunny and mild Sunday? Mayhem. She and I skipped the tractor ride up into the orchard and decided to walk up. There were several varieties available, and to say that I was an enthusiastic apple picker would be an understatement. I picked over 8 pounds of apples. And I cook for one. Oops. As I was lugging my full to the brim bags, I said to my friend “um, why didn’t you stop me?!”. She replied that while hers would sit in a bowl in her kitchen and would be consumed in the traditional snacking fashion, she knew I would use them up in various ways. Some creatively, she said. Well, mayyyybe. I’m not terribly sure how creative this dish is, but man, oh man is it delicious and perfectly fall-themed. And it’s nice and hearty; perfect for Meatless Monday!
This is great for friends or family who are vegan, as it’s filling enough for a main dish, or you can serve it up as a 2-1 side dish, as it has both a grain (technically quinoa is a seed, but whatever. Close enough) and veggies courtesy of the baby kale and sweet potatoes. Baby kale is great here because it does not need to be cooked and takes less time to wilt and soften than its big brothers, curly or Tuscan kale. If you can’t find baby kale, feel free to substitute baby spinach, arugula, or mix of spring greens. If you want to use regular kale, go ahead, but massage the dressing into the kale leaves prior to mixing the rest of the salad together. I like options. 🙂
sweet potato and apple quinoa salad with cider mustard vinaigrette.
inspired by and adapted from the mustardy kale salad, real simple, fall 2013.
1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 smallish ones), cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked to package directions
1 medium crisp apple (empire, fuji, pink lady, etc.), thinly sliced
2 large handfuls of baby kale (between 2-3 cups)
2 tablespoons dry roasted almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
shaved pecorino cheese (optional)
cider dijon vinaigrette
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
splash of all natural apple cider
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
dash of salt and pepper
directions for dressing: Add all ingredients to a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well to combine all ingredients. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Extra will keep for one week.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and cut sweet potato into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove and set aside. Cook quinoa according to package instructions while potatoes are roasting.
In a large bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes, apple slices, baby kale, chopped almonds and cheese (if using). If desired, add in a crank or two of pepper. Drizzle with two to three spoonfuls of dressing and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side/salad.
Notes: If making ahead of time, squeeze lemon juice onto apple slices to prevent browning. Store separately, and combine just before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature.
**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**